Statement by H.E. Ertuğrul Apakan, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN, at the Security Council Open Debate on The Middle East

Ertuğrul Apakan 15.10.2012
Thank you Mr. President.

Let me start by congratulating Guatemala again for assuming the Presidency of the Security Council. And I do believe that under your able leadership the Security Council will have productive, helpful and useful debate with regard to the issues about international peace and security.

Mr. President,

On this occasion, I wish to say very briefly on the crisis in Syria, allow me to express our appreciation for the position, which the Security Council took upon the shelling of the Turkish town of Akçakale by the Syrian Armed Forces on October 3rd 2012, which led to the loss of five Turkish citizens. The Statement underscored that this incident highlighted the grave impact the crisis in Syria has on the security of its neighbors and on regional peace and stability and demanded that such violations of international law stop immediately and not repeat.

While the number of Syrians seeking shelter in Turkey has surpassed 100 thousand, the Turkish Government continues to extend its helping hand to those in need.

Mr. President,

As I have not been able to address the Security Council in September, allow me also to express our sincere condolences to our American colleagues here and the American Nation in broad, on the demise of Chris Stevens, late Ambassador of the United States to Libya. As a country that has lost many of its diplomats to terror, we share your grief and condemn in the strongest terms this terrorist attack. Turkey has consistently emphasized that terror has no religion or nationality, and is a crime against humanity. Turkey continues to believe that the effective combating of terrorism requires the unity and the solidarity of the international community.

Mr. President,

I now would like to express o express our views on the latest developments in relation to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Unfortunately, nothing has changed in a positive direction since the last Open Debate of the Council. We have witnessed increasing violence of the settlers on the Palestinians during the olive harvest season. Extremist attacks to Muslim and Christian sacred places continued and lately targeted Saint George Church in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque. We share the concerns articulated by the Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation on October 6th 2012, where he warned against escalation.

During the past three months, Israeli operations again claimed Palestinian lives, suffering of the Palestinian prisoners continued under inhuman conditions in Israeli prisons.

We condemn strongly the decision to issue tenders for the construction of 130 additional units in the settlements of Har Homa in East Jerusalem, adding anew to the settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories. All settlement activities carried out in the occupied Palestinian territories constitute a violation of international law. Lately, the elevation of the “Ariel College” into University, incorporated educational elements to the illegal settlement activities. Such policies obstruct the possibility of revitalizing the peace process and seriously endanger the vision of a two-state solution.

We denounce the recent wave of attacks into Gaza and West Bank. Resort to violence by any party can no way be tolerated in overcoming existing disputes.

Mr. President,

The Ad Hoc Liaison Committee on Palestine held its recent meeting in New York prior to the high level segment of the 67th General Assembly, and addressed the dire circumstances of the Palestinian economy. Similar to the imaginary boundaries imposed on Palestinian fisherman, continuing illegal occupation of the Palestinian lands and the illegal blockade around Gaza is the main determinant of the economic situation in Palestine. As highlighted by the recent report of the UN Special Coordinator’s Office, private sector growth in Palestine is affected by the obstacles to Palestinian movement in the West Bank. Area C is essential to a viable Palestinian State.

On that note, I would like to call on the international community to continue and even enhance their support to the Palestinian people and especially to the efforts of UNRWA.

Under these circumstances, the Israeli Government declared early Parliamentary elections. Sole expectation of the international community from this process is peace.

Mr. President,

We supported the membership bid of Palestine to the United Nations in 2011 and we shall continue to support any initiative at the General Assembly, which would elevate the status of Palestine within the United Nations.

Let us be clear. The Palestinian attempt within the United Nations is not a declaration of statehood. Palestinian leadership has declared its state in 1988 and a total of 133 members under this roof have recognized the State of Palestine since then. Palestine is aiming to take its rightful seat among us. A united Palestinian front will certainly draw even wider support from the international community.

Mr. President,

Allow me to conclude with the remarks of the Russel Tribunal on Palestine, which met in New York on 6th and 7th of October 2012. The tribunals draft report calls on the international community but primarily the United Nations to implement its Charter, uphold its value system, and implement the Rule of Low in the case of Palestine, and criticizes for the inadequate performance on this matter. It argues that such performance is undermining the credibility of the United Nations system as a whole and the trust of the international community to the UN. We will continue to support the UN efforts to achieve a solution based on the established parameters of Madrid, Oslo, Arab Peace Initiative.

To us, the United Nations is yet to fulfill its promise, made with the General Assembly Resolution 181, of 1947, which foresees the coming into existence of an independent Israeli and an independent Arab state. Now its time for the United Nations to live up to its decisions and take corrective action, despite a delay of 65 years. Turkey will continue to support the two-state solution, based on 1967 borders, whereby Israel and Palestine live side by side in peace and tranquility, with East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.

Thank you.